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I look up from my book and out the window into the cul-de-sac below. My house sits on a hill and overlooks the house across the street, so I have a fairly deep view of the neighborhood and beyond.

The neighbors across the street have a driveway that slopes straight down the hill before sharply turning right into a drive-under garage. This leaves about 15 feet for grass between their driveway and the creek that runs behind their house. At its narrowest point, the driveway backs straight into the creek if you’re not careful.

The neighbors across the street run a household business of fixing cars. The husband does, anyway. So, in that 15 feet of grass are two cars, side by side. I don’t think anyone has seen them run… ever. One is some kind of early-years SUV that looks kind of like a first-generation Thunderbird. Over the years, it’s amassed piles of debris around it, including wood scraps and bright orange traffic pylons.

The other is under a makeshift portable garage, with a dingy white and teal striped blanket draped over the car. Both are maroon and are shaded by a massive tree. It has gathered its own pile of rubbish as well.

A young boy plays in the water that’s dripping from the portable garage. I don’t see a hose, so I wonder where the water is coming from and if it’s just rainwater from a few days ago. He sticks his hand out and lets the drops of glitter splash his palm. The kid isn’t their son, but plays with their dachshunds like he is.

The neighbors have always taken great care of their dogs. The only one I’ve seen pass was older than me — in human years — when it died. They let their dogs roam freely, as dogs should be able to do, but they always know when to come back.

Their son, a few years ago, dubbed their house as “the house with the earrings” as a reference to their old-school Walmart-style security cameras dangling from the front two corners of their roof. The earrings remain locked in place.

In their front yard next to the walkway is a sign boasting her husband’s name as running for chairman. It’s not her husband, but a different man with the same name. It sits in the small garden they have that’s filled with deep red and yellow roadside spider daylilies. The other side of the walkway bears a sweet gum tree whose fruits prick their bare feet when they walk outside to get the mail.

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